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The Critical Eye

The Critical Eye

And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.  And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?  How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.   Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.  Matthew 12:1-14

Have you ever been around a person that is constantly complaining?  Have you ever been that person?  Perhaps all of us know someone that is always “pouring cold water” on a situation or known to be a “Johnny Rain-Cloud.”  People who are hyper critical can find fault with even the best of things in life.

Think of it this way – Jesus was and is perfect.  No fault. No sin. Nothing wrong with Jesus, and yet the hyper religious pharisees found what they perceived to be a fault – Jesus was healing people on the Sabbath day and that must constitute work in their ungracious estimation.  These men were perceiving things the wrong way because they had conceived their own way of following God’s law.  The expectations they demanded of others were a figment of their own thinking – not the Lord’s.  They had added new rules to God’s Law for everyday for the year!

Everyone should grow in discernment.  This is something the Bible says we should have.  Being critical of others and having personal discernment are not the same thing.  These religious leaders, many of whom could quote long passages of the Old Testament, did not have any practical smarts about them to see Jesus was doing better than the Law was actually calling for.  Watch out – when you start to “nit-pick” others, your eye is becoming critical.

Here are several thoughts about the critical eye.

  1. Those with critical eyes tend to hold others to higher standards than they hold themselves.
  2. Those with critical eyes choose not to see the good that is evident all around them.
  3. Those with critical eyes are quick to complain and let their critique be known – no matter how foolish their words really are.  Imagine – criticizing Jesus – doing good!
  4. Those with critical eyes neglect to have a close fellowship with God.  Instead of praising God, they praise themselves with their proud stance and egotistical demands.
  5. Those with critical eyes get angry very fast.  These irate leaders wanted to kill Jesus.
  6. Those with critical eyes are more emotional and listen less to common sense and reason.  If a man had a sheep fall into a pit and he rescued it – how is it any better or worse for Jesus to heal a man with a withered hand?  Their critical eye and angry heart refused basic reason and it diminished their thinking skills.
  7. Those with critical eyes fail to see the goodness of God.

Jesus did amazing things in His time on earth in the New Testament.  I suggest to you that Jesus continues to to incredible things through His people – His church today.  If you can’t see it – reexamine your heart.  Check your spiritual eyesight.  Sadly, there are many people who look at life like the Pharisees did.

Clean your classes off.  Open the Bible and see our Good and Great God!  Look to serve others by finding ways to carry others, not criticize them.  Avoid having a critical eye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Better or Worse?

Better or Worse?

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.  Romans 6:6-7

Trips to the eye doctor!  Getting new eyeglasses or fitting contacts can be a good thing.  Being able to see or understanding why headaches are more frequent and that these sight issues can be treated are terrific.  I am amazed at the new machines and the visual tools that the eye doctors of today utilize.  Place your face against a big “mask looking thing” and look at the image on the wall.  Sound familiar?

What does the eye doctor say to you?  You are looking at a wall with letters of all sizes on it.  Then after looking and talking down the list the doctor says “Is that better or worse?”  He flicks a button and the lens in the tool he is using changes and he says it again: “Is that better or worse?”  Over and over again he says the same thing until he arrives at a lens that you declare is working well for your set of eyes to see better.

Eye doctor visits are visual “resets” that help us see better after getting the proper contacts or glasses.

In the aftermath of the Islamic terror strikes on America on 9.11, many Americans had a “reset” in their spiritual vision.  Many people started to consider eternity and getting things right with God.  The attacks shook our world in many different ways, from economics, military, public safety, and even spiritual considerations.   We learned about terror groups that hate Christians and that want to kill those who live with the “western ideology.”  What I am saying is that some people hate the American way of life and the American way of life was initially rooted in Judaic/Christian Values.  The attacks and this hatred we endured changed our perspective.

People changed for the better.   Living with God in mind is living with a better perspective.  Church congregations grew.  People prayed and read the Bible who had not done either practice in years.  Folks said they were turning back to the Lord.  Some people trusted Christ for salvation and were born again and others became religious for the next several weeks, months, and even years.  Priorities, motivation for life, and service to God became key components of the lives of many people.

Then time goes by.  Just like our eye vision, sometimes over time we do not see as well as we once did.

Each human is composed of three components: Body, Soul, and Spirit.  We are a trichotomy.  We are free to choose what we believe and how we will live.  Just like we go to the eye doctor when we need an eye exam, we all need to take time to examine our spiritual lives.

I like the following quote from William Ralph Inge (1860-1954) who said: “Christianity promises to make men free; it never promises to make them independent.”

It seems like people living in America today want to be free. Many want to be free to do what they want to do.  God would rather us be free to do what is right rather than what is wrong.  We are free, but as Christians, we are not independent from God.  If you are a believer in Jesus, you must be totally dependent on Jesus.

Romans 6:6-7 gives us great insight to the old nature and the new nature.  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. 

Your body, the flesh, wants to do wrong.  This is our human nature.  As Christians, God has given us a new nature.  You are a new person in Christ Jesus.  God is not saying to destroy your body in these verses; He is saying to not let the old nature control your life.  When Jesus died on the cross and rose again, He made it possible for you to live in true freedom.  You have freedom to no longer follow the mandates of your sinful, fallen nature, but to joyfully live life for the Lord Jesus Christ.  The old nature was crucified too.  Backslidden Christians are allowing the old nature to “revive” and control their lives instead of enjoying the freedom Christ afforded over that old nature.

Jesus gave us real freedom when He died on the cross.  Our lives must reflect the victory that He purchased at Calvary.  As we remember 9.11 once again today, consider your life in retrospective: “Is life better or worse?”  Am I still free to do right, or am I claiming my freedom to do what my old nature wants for me to do.

We don’t have to look far to realize that a giant pendulum of morality and godliness in society is swinging far away from the side of righteousness.  People who once saw clearly their need to seek the Lord are now no longer interested in the things of the Lord.  Even if they are Christians, they have fallen into the traps and fallen for the lies of Satan to “live the way you want to live.”

Why not seek a “spiritual reset” today?  Just like when you go to the eye doctor to get help, go to church this Sunday and discover what you have been missing and see how you can honor the Lord once again with your life.

Are you “better or worse” in your walk with the Lord than you were 14 years ago?  “Better or worse” than you were a month ago concerning spiritual things?  How about today?  As time goes on, the temptation is to “let things go.”  Examine your life.  Make changes for the better… starting today.